Spees Receives Grant to Address Childhood Obesity in Low-Resource Communities

Dr. Colleen Spees, an InFACT faculty affiliate, has received a $978,383 grant from the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to develop an efficacious behavioral, social and environmental intervention to address the complex problem of childhood obesity. Dr. Spees will serve as the PI for the project, titled “Summer Harvest Adventure.” Dr. Ingrid Adams, who recently joined Ohio State as a new faculty hire through the InFACT program, will serve as Co-PI for the project.

This multi-year award embraces all three components of the agricultural knowledge system: extension, education and research. The goal of Summer Harvest Adventure is to promote obesity prevention strategies and fill the summer meal gap for children, ages 8-11 years, residing in low-resource communities.


Dr. Colleen Spees (L) and Dr. Ingrid Adams (R)

Collaborators include investigators, educators, staff, interns and students from The Ohio State University’s Department of Medical Dietetics and Health Sciences in the College of Medicine; OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural, Research and Development Center in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT), an Ohio State Discovery Themes program; and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Spees is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Medical Dietetics and Health Sciences, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, in Ohio State's College of Medicine. Her primary focus of research involves targeting interventions aimed at providing optimal nutrition for cancer prevention and survivorship in disparate populations. In this capacity, Dr. Spees has initiated multiple studies in collaboration with food pantries and federally qualified health centers serving vulnerable populations. She is also a member of OSU’s prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her cancer laboratory focuses on evaluating biomarkers of dietary interventions in human carcinogenesis.

Dr. Adams is an Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Dietetics and Health Sciences, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, in Ohio State's College of Medicine and OSU Extension in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Her research focuses on the evaluation of prevention and treatment interventions related to nutrition and weight management and the development and dissemination of best practice guidelines. She works with populations who are disproportionally affected by obesity and chronic diseases for the purpose of designing effective and culturally appropriate interventions.

Tags: InFACT, College of Food Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, College of Medicine, Food Production and Security, agriculture, diet, food security, nutrition